This conversation between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Dr. Christian Hauser, a psychiatrist, took place in Stockholm in September 1973.
Srila Prabhupada: I am prescribing, “Chant Hare Krishna.” If you say, “Hare Krishna,” immediately the relief begins. And if you say, “No, no, I cannot chant this Hare Krishna mantra – I don’t believe in it,” what can be done? That will prove to be a great misfortune.
Just consider. Someone is being asked to chant two words: Hare Krishna. But he’ll not agree to chant these two words and get relief. Instead, he’ll chant ten or fifteen words: “No, no, I cannot chant this Hare Krishna mantra – I don’t believe in it.” He won’t chant the two words Hare Krishna and get relief. That is a great misfortune for the person.
Dr. Hauser: Yes. But isn’t there something else beyond just the chanting?
Srila Prabhupada: That is the beginning. It is like an ocean. Ānandambudhi: an ocean of blissfulness. So first of all, come to the shore – touch the water. It is like the Pacific Ocean, with all its vastness. But come to the shore and touch the water. Then gradually you’ll understand. If you remain aloof – “No, I shall not touch it” – then how can you understand what the Pacific Ocean is?
Dr. Hauser: Yes, I can see that.
Srila Prabhupada: Ambudhi means “the ocean”; ananda means “blissfulness.” So anandambudhi means “the ocean of blissfulness.” And anandambudhi-vardhanam: this ocean of blissfulness goes on increasing and increasing unlimitedly.
Now, how does this ocean of blissfulness go on increasing? Cheto-darpana marjanam: the more you chant the Lord’s holy names, the more you cleanse your heart.
We all have got these unclean ideas, these dirty illusions – “I am white,” “I am black,” “I am French,” “I am Chinese” – covering our heart. Fundamentally, our illusion is “I am this body.”
But by chanting the Lord’s names, we cleanse away our illusion and come to the reality: “I am a spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit. Now let me serve Him.”
So our diseased condition in this world is due to our unclean heart. In fact, disease means uncleanliness.
So our material disease – our being in this material world to begin with – is due to our unclean heart. Therefore to cure this disease, cheto-darpana-marjanam: we have to cleanse our heart. And this is the process: chant Hare Krishna; let the Lord’s holy names cleanse our heart.
Dr. Hauser: When did this movement start in the Western hemisphere?
Srila Prabhupada: My spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, asked me to revive this traditional Vedic culture in the Western world. It is not actually a question of “starting.” This is the world’s traditional, original culture.
Dr. Hauser: For some people, it will be very difficult accepting this kind of thing as authoritative.
Srila Prabhupada: Why? At every moment everyone is accepting something or other as authoritative – whether some scientific theory or some news report. And yet generally whatever thing we are accepting was produced by some man’s imperfect senses and imperfect mind – so that thing is imperfect.
Dr. Hauser: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: But if we go to the all-perfect Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we get something perfect, something really authoritative. Take this traditional Vedic culture. It comes from the Vedic literature of Vyasadeva, the Lord’s literary incarnation. Just test for yourself. For instance, several thousand years ago the Bhagavata Purana foretold Lord Buddha’s birth – the place, the family, the date – exactly. Perfect authoritativeness.
So this chanting of the Lord’s names – we are not concocting some idea. In the Vedic literature the Lord recommends this; this is authoritative.
But instead you may want to accept some other prescription for relief – something produced by some man’s imperfect senses and mind. But that thing must be imperfect, because it is from someone imperfect.
Dr. Hauser: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: And yet, despite all this imperfection, still this man will put the thing forward as if it were perfect. So he is cheating.
That is going on. Recently a big professor, a Nobel Prize winner, went to Los Angeles to speak on his view of chemical evolution. His theory is that life begins from a certain four chemicals.
So one of my disciples who has a doctorate in chemistry asked this professor, “If I give you these four chemicals, will you be able to produce life?” The professor replied, “That I cannot say.”
Remember, he had asserted that life begins from these four chemicals, and he had lectured for hours. And yet when he was asked, “When you actually have these four chemicals, will you be able to produce life?” he answered, “That I cannot say.” Just see. He’s not certain whether he’ll be able to produce life. Is this not cheating?
Dr. Hauser: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: So we don’t go to cheaters to get relief. We go to the Supreme Lord, and we continuously chant His holy names.